Defiant Bozeman Bar Battles COVID Closing Time Rule
A good friend of mine owns and operates a sports bar and restaurant here in Missoula.
He tells me that one of the most frustrating things about having to shut down at 10:00 p.m. nightly is dealing with customers who are watching sporting events on their TVs, which can run well past 10:00 p.m., especially if they are west coast games. A perfect example would be last night (Wednesday), when the University of Montana men's basketball team played at Washington. It was being televised in the establishment, but the game didn't even start till 9:00 local time, so you can well imagine customer and Griz fan frustrations, having to leave the facility at about halftime (Side note: Congrats to the Griz who beat the Huskies 66-58 last night).
But he also points out that those who do not want to comply make it harder on those who do and there could be even tighter restrictions if everyone doesn't follow the rules.
Is that the case in Bozeman? One of the most recent incidents of non-compliance and pushing back is going on there now. Associated Press reports that a Montana judge has ordered a Bozeman bar to comply with health directives, including the 10:00 p.m. closing time. The judge issued the order Wednesday in the lawsuit by the Gallatin City-County Board of Health against the Rocking R Bar. According to AP and the Bozeman Daily Chronicle, the bar has remained open past 10:00 p.m. on several occasions, despite warnings.
The owner, Mike Hope, says his business is down about $250,000 so far this year, and the 10:00 p.m. closure time is making things worse.
And so it goes 'round and 'round.
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